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Month: March 2010

Oh, the Madness of March

Oh, the Madness of March

The 2010 NCAA men's basketball tourney has lived up to hype and has given us some thrilling performances and unexpected outcomes. (Butler in the Final Four? Kansas ousted in the second round?) But the real "March Madness" has been playing out not on the hardwood courts around the country, but right here in our nation's capital. Think back on the month of March - Congress and the Administration have had a very full (and sometimes brutal) month. Here are a few things that Read more [...]
Does Canada Need Harmonics Emissions Limits?

Does Canada Need Harmonics Emissions Limits?

The Canadian Standards Association has been pursuing adoption of IEC 61000-3-2: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) - Part 3-2 and 61000-3-12: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) - Part 3-12 that provide requirements on limiting device harmonic current emissions.  These documents, and IEEE 519, provide requirements for limiting the effect of various products on power quality due to the way they process power for their operation.  However, why are these documents Read more [...]
Time to Start Worrying?

Time to Start Worrying?

Recent data releases do not portray a particularly healthy housing market, and this week’s print on February new home sales raises the level of concern even higher. New home sales slid for the fourth month in a row, falling to a new record low of 308,000; however, that was only one of several negatives to be found in this report. Inventories are growing again as the months’ supply of new homes climbed to 9.2 months while homes are now spending a median length of 14.4 months on the market Read more [...]
AWG Wire Sizing System goes Global

AWG Wire Sizing System goes Global

On September 29th 2009 the IEC published IEC/TR 62602 Conductors of insulated cables - Data for AWG and KCMIL sizes.     The informative publication completed the first of several stages in a process initiated by NEMA members to ultimately produce a normative IEC standard for both metric based and N. American sized conductors.   A good reason to celebrate this important achievement is that it may now be referenced in other international normative documents, thereby Read more [...]
A Thing of the Past?

A Thing of the Past?

The loss of 2 million manufacturing jobs in the last two years has reinforced the widely accepted notion that the U.S. really doesn’t make much of anything anymore. Even though the sector faces significant challenges in competing internationally for innovation and securing an educated workforce, the conventional wisdom about the death of U.S. manufacturing is wrong as this article shows. In fact, manufacturing has been one of the bright spots of an otherwise tepid economic recovery. Read more [...]
Yes, There’s Other Business in DC Besides Healthcare Reform

Yes, There’s Other Business in DC Besides Healthcare Reform

Reading the headlines, you'd think the only think Congress is working on these days is healthcare reform.  Tain't true.  Just yesterday, NEMA went up to the Hill to announce its support of the Residential Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (HR 1796) sponsored by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Nev.).  In fact, NEMA member First Alert, represented by Mark DeVine, had the opportunity to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Read more [...]
EPA Regulation of Nanomaterials Needs to be Standards Based

EPA Regulation of Nanomaterials Needs to be Standards Based

This Industry Week article on proposed EPA regulation on nanomaterials has me thinking that the reporting and possible testing requirements will be premature and as a result, will be too onerous for small companies already struggling to stay afloat.  This is because these companies and the EPA do not yet have standards available that provide uniform guidance on safe handling and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials, nor guidance on characterizing these materials for inhalation toxicity assessments.  Read more [...]
The Check Is in the Mail

The Check Is in the Mail

According to data released yesterday by the Federal Reserve, total U.S. household debt fell 1.7 percent during 2009. While this rate of decline might not sound like much, this marked the only time since data collection started back in 1945 that a calendar year decline actually occurred—and there have been quite a few nasty recessions over that time period. Some of the drop in debt reflected consumers paying down credit cards, but the largest contribution (~80%) came from households defaulting Read more [...]
Toyota Should Take a Lesson from Burner Controls Industry

Toyota Should Take a Lesson from Burner Controls Industry

The sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles may be due to software issues; if this is the case then there are valuable lessons for all standards developers.  So many products now incorporate electronic controls, yet many have not been evaluated to determine what happens when a failure occurs.  For mechanical systems we have tried and tested methods to handle failure - a vehicle's hydraulic brake system has a cable emergency brake back-up. The aerospace industry builds in triple redundancy Read more [...]
Is Card Check Dead Yet?

Is Card Check Dead Yet?

“In terms of the NLRB, we’re going to get it done. In the fight for EFCA, we’ve got to sit down and figure out where we go from here….I think we’re going to get it done.” –Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden before the AFL-CIO, March 1, 2010 Election years provide plenty of fodder for political junkies, but election year posturing too often produces suspect public policy. Case in point: the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” (HR 1409/S 560). Read more [...]